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What's it mean to be "innovative"?

"Innovation" is one of those words that we understand in the abstract or in retrospect—but consider hard to apply in daily life, and in real time.

And how can you discern the difference between real innovative genius (say, the coffee-cup holder in your car console, or Disney's Fast Pass program) and flat-out silly innovations (I'd put the selfie stick in that category).

Last week, Sir Ken Robinson presented a 90-minute video talk and Q&A at MarketingProfs on the nature of innovation in organizations.

Sir Ken is an internationally recognized authority and speaker on creativity and innovation in education and business. He is the most-viewed speaker on TED.com, with multiple talks totaling more than 40 million views. He is also the author of the bestselling books The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything and Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life.

Sir Ken argued that innovation is critical and imagination is the spark that fuels it.

That sounds both vague and high-minded, doesn't it? But holy wow... it so wasn't!

I'm one of those people who gets antsy at webinars. But last week I was zero percent tempted during Sir Ken's talk to start scrolling through my email or checking Twitter.

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image of Ann Handley

Ann Handley is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author who speaks worldwide about how businesses can escape marketing mediocrity to ignite tangible results. IBM named her one of the 7 people shaping modern marketing. She is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a LinkedIn Influencer, a keynote speaker, mom, dog person, and writer.